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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Breach of Trust?

Ex-officials join attack on Meyers

From: msnnewsbox

LONDON (Reuters) - Two former top civil servants have joined the attack on Britain's former ambassador to Washington for publishing memoirs critical of the government's role in the lead-up to the Iraq war.

On Friday, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Christopher Meyer's revelations had undermined a key relationship between civil servants and ministers, branding his memoirs a "completely unacceptable" breach of trust.

Lord Butler, a former head of the civil service, said frank discussion in cabinet could be inhibited if ministers believed their opinions would be reported by officials later.

"I've always accepted that it's an obligation of the profession and it's in the interests of the profession that you maintain these confidences," he told BBC radio in comments broadcast on Saturday.

"I would like to see my colleagues and people within the civil service generally observe those conventions.

In his book "DC Confidential", Meyer says Prime Minister Tony Blair was "seduced by the glamour of U.S. power" and failed to use his influence in Washington to get the United States to draw up proper plans for the aftermath of the Iraq war.

Lord Armstrong, who led the civil service under Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher, said Meyer had made it more difficult for ministers to trust their officials.

"He has in my view breached the trust which should exist between civil servants and ministers and between ministers and civil servants, both ways," he told the BBC.

Straw questioned whether Meyer, ambassador to the United States from 1997 to 2003, could remain in his current job as head of the Press Complaints Commission.

My Comments:

I just wonder if there would have been a similar outcry about this ‘breach of trust’ if Meyer had published opinions that said the US and UK were justified in declaring war on Iraq?

But maybe I'm just a cynic ......?

posted by summersun70 at 10:36 AM


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